Jeffrey Lurie Enters Competition for Philadelphia’s Worst Sports Owner

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

In case you haven’t noticed, Philadelphia has a sports team ownership problem.

It took last week’s Eagles front office fiasco to get me thinking about this. And the Eagles are the one viable team in this town right now.

Jeffrey Lurie has now owned the Eagles for 20 years. Not only is there no championship of which to speak, but now I’m very leery of the direction this owner provides towards that end. When confronted with in-house bickering of his lieutenants, Lurie caved like a pre-fab house in a stiff wind. His anointing of Chip Kelly as the main architect of the franchise and demotion of Howie Roseman from general manager to vice president of shoulder pads, or some such thing, was not exactly generalship. It was a panic move from a weak leader.
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Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez Wasn’t a Phillie for Long, But He Made an Impact

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Pedro Martinez (45) greets second baseman Chase Utley (26) in the dugout prior to the game against the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park in August of 2009.

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Pedro Martinez (45) greets second baseman Chase Utley (26) in the dugout prior to the game against the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park in August of 2009.

Pedro Martinez was on the mound. There was a runner on second. The Mets were a hit away from tying the game. And Charlie Manuel was headed out of the dugout.

It was 2009. The Phillies manager had a brief conversation with Martinez, then walked back to the dugout. Martinez would be staying in. The fans roared. Two pitches later, Daniel Murphy was caught trying to advance to third on a ball in the dirt. Martinez was out of the inning. Fans screamed. “The stadium shook that night,” the Daily News’ David Murphy wrote, “the air reverberating with the collective energy of 42,000 people realizing that they were witnessing somebody do the something that makes them special.”

It turns out Martinez didn’t need to plead much with Manuel on the mound. “I was keeping him in anyway,” Manuel said. “I had to see what he was going to say.” Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless ninth and the Phillies beat the Mets, 1-0. Martinez got the win after throwing 130 pitches over 8 innings. He struck out seven. It was his best game as a Phillie. It was his last win in baseball.

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Christie: Philly Fans Are Worst, but Giants Fans Are OK With My Cowboys Fandom

chris-christie-cowboys-jerry-jones

In a story late Monday night, the New York Times’ Michael Barbaro reported on a conversation “overheard” recently. In it, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that “these Philadelphia fans, they are the worst in America.” This got a lot of play in the media, but I think much of the coverage has missed a wider point.

Barbaro continues in the Times piece:

He recalled that when he took to the field with Mr. Jones at a previous Cowboys game against the New York Giants, who play their home games in New Jersey: “I didn’t get booed. Giant fans waved, said hello, asked for autographs, didn’t give me a hard time.”

“But these guys?” he added of Eagles fans.

Oh, Giants fans. I actually thought better of you.

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Rebuilding Phillies Sign 36-Year-Old Pitcher, Give Him Roy Halladay’s Number

The Philadelphia Phillies announced today they signed right-handed starting pitcher Aaron Harang to a one-year contract worth $5 million. He will wear 34, Roy Halladay’s old number.

“Aaron brings a wealth of experience and durability to our rotation,” General Manager Ruben Amaro said in a release. “He had a very solid season for the Braves last year and will complement the left-handers in our rotation nicely.”

Harang will be in his 14th season next year, having pitched previously for seven major league teams. With Atlanta last year, Harang went 12-12 with a 3.57 ERA. That put him at about league average, which he’s been for his career as well. In 358 games, he’s 122-128 with a 4.21 ERA.

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Are the Flyers Going to Fire Coach Craig Berube?

Craig Berube press conference

Are Craig Berube’s days as Flyers coach numbered?

The team’s beat writers have become a Greek chorus on the subject:

Things have gotten so bad the players are actually defending their coach and blaming themselves. “[Berube] has given us a game plan and we’re not sticking to it in any form,” goalie Steve Mason said after Saturday’s loss. “We’re letting down Chief. We’re letting down ourselves and the Flyers organization’s reputation as a whole. This is not what we’re supposed to be known for.”

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5 Reasons to Fear Sunday’s Eagles-Cowboys Game

Photos | USA Today Sports. Tim Heitman (left), Dennis Wierzbicki (right)

Photos | USA Today Sports. Tim Heitman (left), Dennis Wierzbicki (right)

The Eagles playoff chances dangle at the mercy of the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night, and this mantra keeps echoing in my head: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Why should I feel this way? The Eagles dominated the Cowboys on one of the best Thanksgiving Days any Philadelphia fan could have. They proved they were the better team, even though the mercurial Mark Sanchez was the quarterback. The Cowboys’ vaunted offensive line crumbled like feta cheese that day — and that is supposedly the best element of their team. In addition to that, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is a notorious December choker, and he’s taking the field with cracked rib cartilage and a double fracture in his backbone.

I’m not a sky-is-falling guy. I consistently urge folks to move past that Philadelphia fan mentality of impending doom. And yet I have this nagging feeling that we could lose Sunday’s Eagles-Cowboys game, finish with an 11-5 record, and perhaps lose the final wildcard playoff spot via an NFL tiebreaker. (For the Birds to survive after this, the Cowboys would have to lose one more game this season).

To sort this out in my brain, I yield to a bullet point presentation:

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Sixers Acquire Draft Pick They Can Use if the NBA Still Exists in 2020

While NBA players may all be wearing exosuits like in that Jonathan Lethem short story by the time they can use it, the Sixers made a trade yesterday to acquire a draft pick in 2020. Heck, let’s hope the NBA still exists then!

The Sixers traded Brandon Davies to the Brooklyn Nets for Andrei Kirilenko, the right to swap second-round picks in 2018 and a 2020 second-rounder. The Sixers also got cash. More assets for Hinkie! Won’t you be excited when the Sixers make that extra second round pick in 2020, if you’re still alive then?

So why no mention of Kirilenko?

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11 Best Jimmy Rollins GIFs

Although it’s not finalized yet, it seems Jimmy Rollins will soon be a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s good, in a sense, that the Phillies are plunging into a rebuild that will hopefully see them emerge a contender again. It’s also awful, because one of the best Phillies — a guy who has been here since the 2000 season — is leaving us.

Let’s remember J-Roll through the magic of the animated GIF 89a format.

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UPDATE: Rollins Trade Called “A Matter of Time”



UPDATE: 5 a.m. Thursday The trade still isn’t official, but that is expected to change today. MLB.com reporters said completion of the trade is just a “matter of time.”

The deal has not been finalized because a third team is involved in the trade, and money needs to be exchanged among them, which requires approval from the Commissioner’s Office.

“I know that there’s a lot of Jimmy Rollins stuff out there,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said in the team’s hotel suite at the Winter Meetings. “There’s nothing to announce, and as I’ve said before, we’re keeping our options open and our minds open on any way that we can improve our club long term.”

The Daily News elaborated:

If money is involved – Rollins is in the final year of a 4-year, $44 million deal – the commissioner has to approve the deal.

Another possible holdup: One of the final pieces in the deal might not have even been property of the Dodgers when the agreement was reached around 2 p.m. in San Diego, first reported by CSNPhilly.com. Later in the afternoon, the Dodgers agreed to a deal that will bring four players, including pitching prospect Andrew Heaney, to Los Angeles in exchange for All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon and veteran pitcher Dan Haren.

But as of midnight, it still remained to be seen who will be coming to Philadelphia in exchange for Rollins.

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Penn Charter’s Reece Whitley May Be America’s Next Olympic Star

Whitley (with Coach Keelan) is fast enough to qualify for the 2016 Olympic trials. Photograph by Jared Castaldi

Whitley (with Coach Keelan) is fast enough to qualify for the 2016 Olympic trials. Photograph by Jared Castaldi

When the grueling pace of kindergarten life overwhelmed him, Reece Whitley would escape to the bathtub. Two hours of soaking soothed his tired mind and prepared him for another tough day of coloring and story time. Even if the water cooled or his skin pruned, Whitley stayed in. “I just liked the feel of the water,” he says.

Whitley still loves the life aquatic, although those restorative soaks have been replaced by punishing swimming workouts. The Penn Charter freshman is one of the hottest young swimmers in the nation, owning a stack of age-group records and already posting fast enough times in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke to qualify him for the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha. At this past summer’s Junior (18-and-under) National Championships, 14-year-old Whitley finished third in the 200 and won the 100-meter “B” final.

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